Tracking the Khoekhoen: An Early Pastoralist Intrusion into Southern Africa?

Professor Andrew B. Smith will present the Department of Archaeology seminar with a talk entitled, "Tracking the Khoekhoen: An Early Pastoralist Intrusion into Southern Africa?"

Abstract: Of the 15 samples of ancient DNA sequenced by Skoglund et al. (2017) only the skeleton from Kasteelberg, dated to 1310 BP, comes from a strongly accepted pastoralist context (Smith 2006). This means we have an important marker for the intrusion of herders to the Cape, and South Africa as whole. Assuming that local hunters did not become herders, as postulated by Smith (2014, 2017; Sadr et al. 2017), using this marker and comparing it to other pre-2000 BP specimens, we potentially have a means to separate out the aboriginal hunters from incoming herders. Equally, if this assumption is incorrect, as suggested by Uren et al. (2016), then we should be able to test this alternative hypothesis. A complication will have arisen if incoming male herders took local wives. This paper will address some of the social problems that appear in the archaeological record at the time of arrival of the first domestic animals.

Bio: Andrew B. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology at UCT. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974. His research interests include the origin of African pastoralism, and relations between hunters and herders. His recent publications include 'Why would southern African hunters be reluctant food producers?', and 'Masked Men, Therianthropes (or Charlatans) in Saharan Rock Art?'.

Monday, August 13, 2018 - 13:00

Teaching Studio, Room 3.10, Department of Archaeology, Beattie Building, Upper Campus, UCT